A joint bid by the United States, Canada and Mexico was awarded the right to host the 2026 World Cup finals at the FIFA Congress in Moscow on Wednesday.
By a vote of 134-65 FIFA members handed the mammoth task of hosting the expanded 48-team World Cup to the three North American countries, ending the hopes of Morocco, the only other country to lodge a challenge.
For the United States, it will be the second time it will host the world’s premier soccer event after doing so in 1994 while Mexico has hosted twice before, in 1970 and 1986. Canada has never held the event.
For Morocco, the decision represents its fifth World Cup bid loss.
The successful bid for the United 2026 tournament came as little surprise given a FIFA task force had earlier given it a big tick of approval.
In a report published by soccer’s governing body, the task force gave the combined bid a score of 402.8 out of a possible 500 when assessing factors such as the suitability of stadiums, referee facilities, accommodation, transport and information technology and the FIFA Fan Fest experience.
Also taken into consideration were commercial factors like organizing costs, media and marketing suitability and ticketing and hospitality potential.
On the same measures, Morocco was awarded just 274.9 points overall.
The win also put to rest worries that a social media intervention by U.S. President Donald Trump, seen by many as a threat, would scupper the bid.
Trump tweeted in late April that “The U.S. has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada and Mexico for the 2026 World Cup.”
“It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)?” Trump’s tweet read.